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Random fashion thoughts - Part II (A New Hope)

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by LA Guy, May 15, 2015.

  1. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    I read that a couple of days ago. The opening is exciting and gets you going, as all rants do, but then it just seems to drag out. The whole piece is little more than an attack on people's economic status, rather than addressing an idea.

    Kind of disappointing. I mean, at that point, you could substitute the term minimalism and replace it with whatever -- upper middle class people can't believe anything almost by virtue of them being upper middle class.

    I'm far from a minimalist, but the idea -- consumerism runs too much of our lives -- isn't totally insane. Would have been nice if the author took the argument more earnestly and addressed the premise, not whether its adherents make more than $100k a year.

    Anyway, maybe an overreach, but I think minimalism is connected to a much deeper problem. In a post modern society, where truth is presumed to only exist in discourse (eg God doesn't exist, truth doesn't exist, everything is subjective, etc), it's hard to find meaning and identity. So most of us are left with consumerism. But if consumption distracts us from more important things, what are we supposed to find once we stop consuming? Marie Kondo's book (which I admittedly haven't read) seems to be "you'll find more enjoyment in the things you have," but is that form of materialism really any better than the other? For fashion, is it better that someone has a ton of memories in one jacket versus someone who opens a closet and has endless options?

    I think the general premise of minimalism is that "you'll find greater happiness if you reject stuff," but it's unclear where that happiness is supposed to come from. Old forms were about rejecting stuff and finding spirituality and truth, but since postmodernism has made that nearly impossible, we're left with Kondo's materialist minimalism -- reject stuff so you can appreciate stuff. TBH, I'd rather have the closet full of endless options.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
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  2. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    It was an interesting read, but yeah, I came to the same conclusions as you. As fun as it is to rail against (white) upper middle class pretensions, the articles does not really address to core of the issues.

    Also, what if you have a ton of memories wrapped up in a ton of stuff?
     
  3. Coldsnap

    Coldsnap Senior member

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    I want that natural colored clothes rack in that article.. It would fit all my summer clothes nice.
     
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  4. g transistor

    g transistor Senior member

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    I agree and thought the article dragged on for forever without saying much.

    But I think there's a difference between the aesthetic and the general idea of minimalism. On one hand, you generally really do have to be upper middle class to do any sort of minimalist aesthetic and buy "minimalist" design. And that's where spouting any sort of "happiness" starts to fall off (ie you have to be at a certain financial point to afford this stuff, anyways, is everyone else unhappy?). I kind of take it like the whole "people should travel more and experience more than buy material goods" argument, because, well, unless you're making good bank, it's not really an option. It's elitist—the article just takes a very long time to beat that point in.

    On the other hand is the minimalist lifestyle, which I think of more akin to a spartan austerity than anything. I know a lot of farmers and alternative lifestyle people like this, where they have few possessions outside of the necessities. And, well, that's not really being shown on Instagram or talked about, because it's truly not glamorous. In fact, it's extremely difficult and taxing, but brings people joy.

    The aesthetic is glamorous and to me, just another way for you to feel good about what you consume. No different than materialism. The lifestyle is unglamorous and scary.

    I haven't read her book either, but from what I understand, I don't think she's really a minimalist. She's neat and organized, something that is easier to achieve if you happen to not have a lot of stuff.

    And I think that yeah, that sort of materialism is better than the other. Sometimes, when I'm about to buy something, I stop right at check out and I'm like, do I really need this? Do I really want it? Will it be used or will it take up space? It doesn't happen often, but I usually end up saving a lot of money.

    And ultimately, I think that really helps with other aspects in life. It's not a race to make more money, you're not stressed all the time, your stuff is better organized, you don't feel bad about not wearing something, etc etc. I don't think stopping consumption altogether is any sort of real solution, but, I'm sure many of us here have looked in our closets and thought many times, "What am I doing?", no matter how much we enjoy our shitty little hobby.
     
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  5. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    For the Kondo form of minimalism, I don't think that's possible.

    I mean, maybe it is if you're Old Money and everything in your mansion is an heirloom. But, for most of us, we buy things that we don't even consume. That's the Kondo premise, as I understand it. Records we never hear; books we never read; jackets we never wear. Her point is to get rid of everything so you can focus on things that truly bring you joy.

    That just seems to be another materialist proposition though. And I think ultimately, a lot of minimalist people are looking for something more -- they want meaning and identity. But those things are harder and harder to find in a post modern age where we've learned to be skeptical. With enough questioning, you'll find it's very hard to form identity (e.g. "I'm a Christian" or "I'm a liberal").

    Minimalism is just a branch off an older anti-consumerism philosophy, but it seems to be the least promising of all of them. I love big wardrobes and don't think I'd enjoy fashion any more if I cleaved it in half. There are a ton of things in my closet I only wear once a year, but that one time is great.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
  6. Coldsnap

    Coldsnap Senior member

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    I feel like all my outerwear is too small. If I take a 17" shoulder and 21" chest in button downs, should I just add 1" to each measurement and that's probably where I'm at? I don't layer beyond 2 pieces, not cold enough here.
     
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  7. g transistor

    g transistor Senior member

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    I don't think that's true. Again, I haven't read the book (but working in nonprofit, aka 90% women, aka 85% of them read Kondo's book and I listened to a ton of it), it's that a lot of stuff can bring you joy and have memories wrapped up. It's just that when you really think about it, many of the things we own in reality don't. That's one of the key techniques of the book: pick up your stuff and really, honestly think about it. You start to realize that some of your material possessions legitimately bring you joy, and not in the sense of "oh yeah, my girlfriend gave this to me so it's special" but in the sense of "this is something that my friend gifted me and it really makes me happy every time I see it or wear it"
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
  8. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    That's true. The article was half about minimalist aesthetics and half about minimalist philosophy. The critique on aesthetics was even less satisfying though. Wasn't the article just saying the aesthetic sucked because the people who like it are rich? Like IG photos with big swaths of white, and then a little tiny vase sitting on a bare table?




    Wait, so is the Kondo book about minimalism?

    If the idea is to just surround yourself with things that bring you joy -- buy awesome stuff; get rid of non-awesome stuff -- that could be done in a very cluttered home, no?

    I don't think anyone should spend themselves into poverty, but so long as you can afford nice things, I guess I don't see the benefit of the materialist form of minimalism (the idea that having less stuff makes you appreciate the stuff you have).
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
  9. g transistor

    g transistor Senior member

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    The general gist is to have awesome stuff. I think that can be done in a very cluttered home, but that's rare in the case of what Kondo is trying to say: does all of it, every single piece, bring you emotional and genuine happiness? That coat that you wear once a year, but that one time you wear it, you love it and are so happy to have it, I think that Kondo wouldn't be against keeping it. It's all about the connection with the stuff you own.

    I think it's more about what a lot of us talk about her, "Styleforum Zen," aka only buying things that you really, really, want. None of that "This is a good price" or plain "This looks awesome," but of something greater in connection to your identity and style. e.g. how Uncontrol eventually left SF and clothes

    Again, I don't think her book is necessarily about minimalism: it's about organization and neatness. Minimization is mostly just a side-effect of that for the vast majority of people. There's a lot of research that a clean and organized living space and work environment makes you happier and more productive, and that's the goal.

    I might be wrong, so someone who knows the book better please correct me if I am.
     
  10. g transistor

    g transistor Senior member

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    It's sort of the other way around, not necessarily that the result is more appreciation for what you have, it's that the other stuff doesn't really have any value outside of "owning" it.
     
  11. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    I guess I just think the counter to all that is the classic, bohemian NYC home. Guys who have apartments overflowing with cool records, books, and clothes. Original art, weird thrift finds, etc. And all of it is awesome.

    Lots of videos online of Gay Talese and Glenn O'Brien's homes being like that.





    The Kondo point, as you've put it, seems to be about minimalism without it being explicitly about minimalism. But you can have a cluttered home and still be surrounded by awesome things.
     
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  12. conceptual 4est

    conceptual 4est Senior member

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    Our solution: only like nice things that we can't afford and refuse to put anything unsatisfactory in our apartment (at least as much as possible - we have some furniture and lighting that isn't exactly designer...) That way we don't have the clutter nor do we feel bad about not having it. It's always a struggle when we truly need stuff though, as it always seems to be a battle of finding the least offensive option possible that is still affordable.



    Exception: records, which all get played, and books, which have all been read. (Why would you buy one that you didn't want to read?)
     
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  13. g transistor

    g transistor Senior member

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    I think the thing to really recognize is that Kondo is just talking to mostly normal, regular people. People who buy things. Lots of things. Without thinking too hard about it (and this isn't an attack, it's just a regular thing in our society).

    And plain awesome probably isn't the best explanation for it. I think it's more about emotional connection. I have lots of excellent records, books, art, etc, but as I was recently going through my record collection, I realized that I hadn't listened to a ton of it in over a year. I still love the music, and no doubt a signed My Bloody Valentine Red Loveless record or signed Feedbacker LP is lit as fuck, and I have great memories from the shows and time, but is it so truly dear to me? Yeah, I think so.

    But are the rest of my records that connected to me, or am I owning them just to own cool shit? I think Kondo's approach ends up being different for everyone, but for literally every single person who has spoken to me about the book, they have ended up minimizing greatly.
     
  14. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    Would be so great if someone read Kondo's book and just went out and bought more awesome shit. "Surround yourself with things that bring you joy? Fuck yea, let's go shopping!!!"

    Records and books actually seem like the easiest offenders. I have a llooootttt of records I haven't listened to in years, but I still love the albums. Also lots of books that I bought and either never read or never finished. But I don't know. It's nice to have them around.

    Feel like a lot of old Woody Allen films show that NYC bohemian home. There's that scene in Annie Hall where he fumbles nervously with a record when his date and friends come over. I can't find it online right now, but to me, that's the aesthetic. I grew up thinking those sorts of guys were super cool. Even if the spaces weren't huge, they had such great collections of stuff.
     
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  15. double00

    double00 Senior member

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    like Seymour's apartment in Ghost World...
     
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  16. g transistor

    g transistor Senior member

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    I'm a big offender with records and books. I have a terrible habit of not finishing books, because I sometimes get too emotionally attached and get really sad when an amazing book ends. I stick to non-fiction these days, but have a ton of half-finished fiction. Tons of records from bands I love, but rarely listen to. I put on records when I'm cooking or eating dinner, but I find I reach for the usual suspects most of the time.

    And I think it's funny that we both hadn't read the book and have been discussing it, so someone who actually has, set us straight
     
  17. double00

    double00 Senior member

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    lol i've re-read the same 6 books like 10 times for the past couple of years.

    it's a pretty interesting way to approach a work, to just stay with it. when i go to a museum i'll pick out one work and hang out with it for a loooong time. i figure it's the least i could do when the artist probably spent a year on it.

    fwiw i think that if a reader decides a book has achieved itself midway through that is a perfectly valid read. or maybe it's just laziness haha.
     
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  18. momentoftruth

    momentoftruth Senior member

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    this reminds me of the Woody Allen-inspired "Page 112" literary prize in France, for which the jury is only allowed to judge a book on its 112th page

    http://www.prix-de-la-page-112.com/
     
  19. conceptual 4est

    conceptual 4est Senior member

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    Also, thanks for all of the tips regarding the 70's jeans. I'll probably try a few styles of the raw Wrangler ones and see how the color is in person, but it would be ideal to veer just a little bit away from western and more into general 70's vibes, which is why the Orange Tab seems the most promising so far. I'll keep an eye out for Levis Orange Tab stuff (which is closest to the color I'm looking for for sure).

    The Shockoe seem nice but darker than I have in mind, and I'll for sure keep my eyes peeled for any news on those Whooper Jeans. Good call on the vintage Maverick and Ranchcraft jeans as well - some of those seem promising. It's hard to find something that you're imagining but may or may not exist!
     
  20. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    The Levi's Orange Tabs and even the Wrangler jeans are a bit more 80s than 70s. I'm reasonably sure I know the color you are talking about, and mostly, that was used in poly or poly cotton "jeans".

    I do have a pair of old John Bull Sewing Chops (007, iirc), that have that look. They were a cotton linen blend, and I was told that the brighter blue color was just the way the indigo took to that particular blend.
     
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